ARTICLE

A fashion photographer's kitbag: what Jaroslav Monchak couldn't work without...

Mirrorless and DSLR camera systems both have their place in fashion photography, and Canon Ambassador Jaroslav Monchak uses them both. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 50mm, 1/640 sec, f/4.0 and ISO320. © Jaroslav Monchak

Working with Canon full-frame mirrorless and DSLR cameras, fashion photographer and Canon Ambassador Jaroslav Monchak enjoys the best of both worlds with his kitbag favourites, he reveals. And not only does he mix up his camera bodies, he also uses more than just a classic 50mm lens.

Jaroslav has been shooting fashion for the past decade, and, with the advent of the Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera, his workflow has started to change. For more flexible, creative photoshoots, Jaroslav favours the EOS R. Meanwhile, for the heavy lifting of commercial work, he relies on the Canon EOS 5DS R. With this approach he finds it easier to get high-quality images, no matter what the project is. "Canon's full-frame mirrorless cameras provide fast autofocus and excellent performance in such a small package. This is truly a revolution," says Jaroslav.

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As a member of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, Jaroslav represents Ukraine in the international photographic community, so it's important that his work with both natural and studio lighting is top-notch. "The light in photography is an extremely important factor for me," he says. "I like to work with both natural and artificial light, but I try not to mix them with each other."

That means the optical quality of his lenses needs to complement the high resolution and wide dynamic range of his camera bodies. Not only that, but as the founder of photography school Lighthouse, he has to keep up-to-date with the latest camera tech in order to teach his students everything they need to know.

So let's take a look at what's in Jaroslav's fashion photography kitbag, with four of his favourite, must-have Canon cameras and lenses.
A female model wears a neon yellow bikini in a blue and red-lit room. Fashion photo by Jaroslav Monchak on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens.
In this photo for a clothing brand, the jewels on the model's outfit glow under UV light – an effect that Jaroslav and his team enhanced by painting the model's arms with UV paint. UV lights are notoriously dark, so Jaroslav also placed an LED panel alongside his UV light, with an additional blue gel, to expose the model correctly while retaining the same colour tone. A red-gelled spotlight in the background adds depth to the photo. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens at 1/160 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2500. © Jaroslav Monchak
A Canon EOS R camera.

Canon EOS R

A full-frame 30.3 Megapixel sensor with impressive detail, ISO performance and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Alongside the new RF lenses, Canon EOS R offers the ultimate shooting experience to take your storytelling further.

1. Canon EOS R


"The Canon EOS R is the body I use mostly for my personal photo shoots – the ones that are a little more creative," says Jaroslav. "The first thing I look for in a camera body is how it captures the colour and light quality of a scene. Historically, Canon bodies have done this well and the Canon EOS R is no different. The colour in the photos, straight out of camera, looks realistic."

Jaroslav also finds that, although ergonomics are of less importance to him than image quality and colour rendering, the better a camera feels in his hands, the more comfortable he is with shooting for longer.

Moving to a full-frame mirrorless body with its electronic viewfinder (EVF) has come with a short period of adjustment for Jaroslav. "The electronic viewfinder has a slight delay [in showing you the image] compared with optical viewfinders," says Jaroslav, "But the benefit of using an electronic viewfinder is that you can see the dynamic range that will be captured when you press the button. So, what you see is what you get."
A woman sits in a cafe reading a book. Photo by Jaroslav Monchak on a Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
This setup was created for Jaroslav's photography school, Lighthouse, to demonstrate how to use natural light combined with model direction. Jaroslav used only window light in the scene, without any reflectors, lamps, flash lighting or other light modifiers. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 70mm, 1/320 sec, f/3.2 and ISO500. © Jaroslav Monchak
A Canon EOS 5DS R camera.

Canon EOS 5DS R

Designed to deliver the ultimate in DSLR image quality, with 50.6-megapixel resolution and a low-pass cancellation filter that maximises the sharpness of the camera’s sensor.

2. Canon EOS 5DS R


Mirrorless cameras grow in popularity, but DSLRs have lost none of their shine. For many photographers, including Jaroslav, they are still the go-to camera system for professional work. "For commercial projects, I still prefer to use the Canon EOS 5DS R because the camera has such a high resolution," he says.

The Canon EOS 5DS R packs an impressive 50.6 megapixel image sensor, which records an outstanding level of detail. "My commercial clients demand a high-quality image – often for billboards or huge posters," Jaroslav continues. "That's why the Canon EOS 5DS R is still my go-to for that. I also find the Canon EOS 5DS R has an impressive dynamic range, and that allows me to tease out detail in post-processing software that I wouldn't otherwise be able to get."

Image sensors with limited dynamic ranges will incur some loss of data in dark or bright areas, which gives much less margin for error. The wide dynamic range of the Canon EOS 5DS R, however, enables Jaroslav to enhance images lit with natural light. For example, window light – although soft and flattering for portraits – does fall off in brightness quickly. If subjects are placed further away from the window, light levels can be considerably lower. Being able to save some of the darker areas means Jaroslav can shoot naturally-lit fashion stills without the use of light modifiers like reflectors, or lamps or additional studio lighting, to introduce more light.
A woman in pink sunglasses stands in front of a blue wall, seen through a pink tunnel. Fashion photo by Jaroslav Monchak on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens.
Here Jaroslav utilised a wider aperture on the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM in a low light situation. He placed the model to the right edge of the frame and relied on the lens's edge-to-edge sharpness to keep his model tack-sharp when combined with a shallow depth of field. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens at 1/125 sec, f/6.3 and ISO100. © Jaroslav Monchak
A Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens.

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The RF lens that sets new standards in photographic performance, delivering supreme sharpness, extra creative control and a low-light performance that’s simply remarkable.

3. Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM


Like many fashion and portrait photographers, Jaroslav is a long-time fan of the 50mm focal length, particularly in a prime lens. He started out shooting with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and spent years working with it in combination with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM to give him some added reach and compressed perspective. But he upgraded to the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens when it was released, for its improved optical clarity and wider maximum aperture.

"The edge-to-edge sharpness in this lens is fantastic, especially when paired with the Canon EOS R, which I like to do," he says. "Making high-end fashion photographs, I need to ensure that the photos are crisp and sharp in every respect where I need them to be, and this lens delivers that. For me, this lens is perfect whether shooting in natural light or with studio lighting."

Having ultimate sharpness around the edge of the frame means that Jaroslav can position his models anywhere in the scene, confident that he can place the focus where he wants and get sharp and consistent results. With a wide maximum aperture of f/1.2 this also means it's good in low light.
Female models wearing gold lie together in a dimly lit space with mirrors. Photo by Jaroslav Monchak on a Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
Shot from high up above the models, Jaroslav angled the camera down as they posed. Two mirrors flanked them with lamp lights in the centre of the mirrors in the background. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/125 sec, f/4.0 and ISO800. © Jaroslav Monchak
Male and female models stand in a dimly lit space with mirrors. Photo by Jaroslav Monchak on a Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
Another version of a similar scene was created by positioning the camera down at eye-level with the models. In this composition, there was a risk of flare due to the direct light from the lamps, but the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens elements' Super Spectra coating made short work of it to deliver a clear image. Taken on a Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 35mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1250. © Jaroslav Monchak
A Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

A professional everyday L-series zoom that delivers high image quality with a constant f/2.8 aperture.

4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM


Jaroslav's current favourite (and most used) lens is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. He says, "I really like the range of its focal length. I use it mainly in the photo studio, and the zoom function means I can recompose my shot without having to reposition the camera." Combining the 24mm wide-angle end of the zoom lens with a unique angle can help embellish a photograph's story.

In his image above-left, he set the lens to a 24mm focal length and shot from high above the models, aiming down. "This photograph was made for a fashion designer," he continues. "The aim of the series was to capture the elegance of the outfits, so I had to include the whole product in the final picture. I got high up above the models and used a wide-angle so that I could get in close among the mirrors that were positioned either side of me. There wasn't room for much else in the frame so I used the lamps in the background to light the scene."

Jaroslav also likes shooting directly into the sun with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. "The coating of this lens is so good that I can shoot directly into the sunlight and be met with minimal flare in my image," he says. "That means my clients can see the product or subject better, but I can also use this backlighting style to fill the shot with energy."

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens has two types of coatings. The Super Spectra coating helps to reduce internal flare and ghosting in the image and is optimised for each EF lens to ensure consistent colour balances across the EF range. Also, the Fluorine coating covers both the front and rear elements to protect the glass from raindrops or fingerprints.

Jaroslav says: "If I had to start my photography career all over again today, I think I'd jump straight in and buy the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens for its versatility in focal length and its wide, constant, maximum aperture throughout that focal range."

Autor: Jason Parnell-Brookes


Jaroslav Monchak’s kitbag

The key kit for fashion photography

Jaroslav Monchak’s Canon photography kit, arranged on a table.

Cameras

Canon EOS R

A full-frame 30.3 Megapixel sensor with impressive detail, ISO performance and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. "Using the electronic viewfinder, you can see the dynamic range that will be captured when you press the button. So, what you see is what you get," says Jaroslav.

Canon EOS 5DS R

The 50.6MP full frame CMOS sensor in this DSLR is capable of recording extraordinary levels of detail. The ultra-high resolution enables extensive cropping and still delivers sharp image quality.

Lenses

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The RF lens that sets new standards in photographic performance, delivering supreme sharpness, extra creative control and a low-light performance that’s simply remarkable. "The edge-to-edge sharpness in this lens is fantastic," says Jaroslav. "For me, this lens is perfect whether shooting in natural light or with studio lighting."

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

A professional-quality standard zoom that offers outstanding image quality and a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range. Jaroslav says: "I really like the range of its focal length. I use it mainly in the photo studio, and the zoom function means I can recompose my shot without having to reposition the camera."

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